Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our First Birmingham Zoo Trip

Last week the boys and I made our first trip to the Birmingham Zoo. Some friends from church were making the trip and that was all the excuse I needed to attempt the adventure. Walker was excited about going, but mostly looked forward to riding the zoo train. After Eli's reaction to the horses at Pops' work, I knew he would enjoy the trip as well.

Birmingham Zoo Trip

When we arrived, so every school child in the Birmingham metro area. Now, I know that can't be true, but that is sure how it seemed. Our more experienced zoo companions directed us toward the back, and we really were able to avoid most of the crowds.
Birmingham Zoo Trip

First we went into the butterfly house. Walker did great. We had to work on not touching the butterflies or the flowers, but he was fascinated. In this picture you can see him getting a lesson from a little girl that is from the elementary school we are zoned for, a neighbor maybe. If you look close you can see a butterfly that has landed on his hat, no one noticed until we saw in in the picture after we arrived home.

Birmingham Zoo Trip

Then we headed to the ostrich and giraffe area. Along the way we saw the camels. Walker was really concerned that the baby giraffe couldn't get in the garage door (those tall doors for the giraffes to go inside and outside), he talked about it days later. We saw the zebras and both the boys really perked up at this. We are still talking about zebras also.

Birmingham Zoo Trip

Next we headed to see the white tiger and the lions. Now the lions were out on display and everyone in the group was really excited, apparently the lions are usually pretty shy and hiding from the crowd.

Birmingham Zoo Trip
[I cannot express how traumatized I am by how old Eli looks in this picture. Ahh, my baby is growing up.]

We got to see a hippopotamus who was also hanging by his closed back door. This concerned Walker as well, and we are still talking about the "hippot, who wants to go inside." We saw the rhino as well and he was covered in mud, I guess from trying to stay cool. Well, in all our stories where animals roll in the mud, those animals are pigs, so Walker would not accept any other name for that animal. So in Walker's world the rhino is a and the same.

Birmingham Zoo Trip

Next we cooled off in the primates building. We saw hugging, talking monkeys (you really should ask Walker what a monkey says sometime) and gorillas, orangutans, and all other sorts of monkey like creatures.

Finally we headed ride the train, at the same time as everyone else. By this time it is lunch time and rapidly approaching is nap time and it is getting pretty hot out as well, but we must ride the train. If Walker was to ever believe a word that came out of my mouth again, we had to ride the train. I am so proud of the both the boys. The waited so patiently for 40+ minutes, in the sun and the crowd. We rode the train, which was just as thrilling as Walker had hoped and then decided to wrap up our day out.

Birmingham Zoo Trip
[Occasionally I make the camera work.]

Birmingham Zoo Trip
[Can you hear the roar?]

It was a great trip and we can't wait to go back...someday, out there in the future.

Still Fighting Fires

Walker Helping Eli Get His Hat On

The fireman hats are still pretty popular around here. Most days at some point the hats come out and we all make fire truck noises. This part of the day usually also includes Walker campaigning to go and see the fire truck (which as we know, works sometimes).

Playing Together

Fishin' Hats

Playing Outside

Playing Outside

Pops (and I suspect Grandma Jayne, also) got the boys fishing hats from the Bass Pro Shop. They love them. Walker asks to wear his fishing hat with the pick-up trucks all the time, a great choice for the truck-loving-child. About the only hat Eli will keep on his head is the fishing hat (I think because it is so light). Seeing as how he is so fair and still does not have full coverage hair, this means he wears his hat quite a bit as well. I think they are both precious, somewhere between adorable little boys and sweet old men.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Visit to Pops "Office"

Growing up it was always a special treat for my brother and I to get to go to work with my dad on Saturday mornings. So, much overdue, this past Saturday morning I loaded up the boys and we headed over to see what surprises Pops had in store. He works at a pretty exclusive golf club in the Birmingham area. He has been there forever and kind of keeps the place running (from what I can tell).

All the tools and toys used in maintaining such an environment are nothing but exciting to children. Walker's love of all things truck-like also played right into this visit.

When we arrived Pops had already gotten the "little garbage truck" and the "red dump truck" ready for Walker to drive.

Walker, Pops and a Dump Truck

Walker "Driving" the "Red Dump Truck"

Then Walker got to do something really amazing. He got to sit in the bulldozer and was able to push the lever that raised and lowered the blade.

Walker lifting the blade

Then we got a tour of the new building (or at least new since the last time I visited). It is very nice and quite an upgrade from what they had before (and much more child safe). They boys got to practice driving the giant tractor lawn mowers and golf carts. They didn't actually make the golf carts go, but it won't be long. That was the first vehicle ever drove, long before my 16th birthday, and if you want the details you will have to talk to my dad or my brother, the only witnesses.

Eli Likes It

Walker "Driving" the Golf Cart

Then Pops took us on a ride in a golf cart to see the famous 14th tee. The boys actually did seem to be impressed with how nice the grass was, it isn't often they get to run around on something like that.

On the Famous 14th Hole

Then the boys got their first ride in Pops' big red truck to head over to the stables. This is the only part of the day that was surprising to me, for two reasons. First, all the horses were out in the pastures, so my dad had to go and get one to come over to the fence to see the boys. There are two particular horses that he seems to have quite the relationship with and came right over to him without him ever putting a hand on them. I had no idea he that was this way with these giant animals.

Pops Gets Us a Horse

Second, Eli loved the horses. He grinned from ear to ear and about jumped out of the truck to get a closer look. He had been happy all day, but this was pure joy!

A wonderful horse, who cost more than my house, came right to the fence and was so sweet to me and the boys. He let the boys pet his nose and was so gentle with them, Eli was instantly in love. It almost makes me want to take up the whole horse thing, except for the price of a large house thing.

Eli Loves Him!

Eli Almost Gets a Kiss

We ended the morning with a return to Pops personal workshop to sit on his tractor and then we made one last visit to the big trucks before it was time to say goodbye.

The boys had a blast and so did I. It is so wonderful to be able to do something with my boys that I have such fond memories of in my childhood. I'm sure this is just the first of many times the boys will get to spend their Saturday mornings with Pops!

Big Smiles

Friday, April 11, 2008

Go See the Fire Truck

Thursday we had the chance to go with our Mom's Club and visit a local fire station. Walker was extremely excited all week, as his current obsession is fire trucks. I have even changed our route to most places so we can drive by a fire station and see if a fire truck is "out of the garage" or if it is "takin' a break" in the garage. It makes Walker's day every time.

We arrived early (an extremely rare occurrence) and had to wait a few minutes to go and see the fire truck...this was Walker's response to being told to wait. I think he honestly believed I had brought him this far and was not going to let him see the truck up close.

Once Jenny got the okay from the firefighters, Walker was able to live the dream and touch and turn every knob and button on the truck. He spent most of his time really trying to figure out how to make the thing work, and when he was put behind the driver's seat, he just wanted to make it go.

Eli had a blast traveling all around the fire station and enjoying the new sites and sounds. Apparently he was also collecting hats, as we ended up taking home four.

Here is a close up of Eli and his buddy. They both look just thrilled to be there. They warmed up after we had been there a while.

The "Little Boys" at the Fire Station

The firefighters were great and did a really good job with the wide range of ages (1-5 years old). Walker was by far the most interested kid there. As we left the firefighters said they looked forward to seeing Walker in about 15 years and they would hold a spot for him.

[most of the photos are courtesy of A Moment Like This as I only took our little camera and really didn't get any good shots]

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Severe Weather?

Playing in the Laundry Room
Eli is turning into a little camera ham, just like his brother.

Playing in the Laundry Room
Notice who is pushing who.

Playing in the Laundry Room
They don't seem too worried about the weather!

We had some pretty bad weather roll through here last week. The only interior room with no windows in our house is our laundry room. So in the case of bad weather, that is our safe place.

The storms moved into our area during nap time, but skirted around our neighborhood until almost the end of nap time. I had used the time to prep the laundry room with pillows and blankets, in case we needed to use it.

When I decided it was time to go, I went and grabbed the boys and in we went to the laundry room. I expected some drowsy and hungry fussiness, but that is not what I got. They were thrilled with the mini wrestling ring I had unknowingly created. Instead of trying to convince them to stay in, once the danger had passed, I had to convince them to come out! It was adorable.

Baby Birds

Baby Finches

Baby Finches
Definitely one of those so ugly it is cute things. :)

The babies have hatched. They have already grown quite a bit. I'm sure they will be flying away soon. There are four babies and when we checked the eggs there were 3 eggs. So we figure she laid another egg after we checked or one of the eggs was twins (Jason's theory).

Walker is really cute about the whole thing. He always notices birds when we are out on a walk or in the car or out doing something. "The bird goes tweet, tweet." I can ask him where the baby birds are and he will tell me, "The baby birds are in the nest on the door." I'm sure that is where he will think they always are. :)

A Visit with Tommy

These boys love trains, almost as much as they love trucks. Basically all forms of transportation are super exciting. I love that we are at the point now that the boys really can enjoy the same experiences.

Walker has always called Thomas the Train, "Tommy," we say it is because they are close personal friends so he can use his nick name instead of his formal name. :) Well, "Tommy," came to town a few weeks ago and Grammie and Grin took us all down to see him. Thomas doesn't just visit anywhere so it s a pretty big deal. It is like visiting a theme park there is so much going on. We had a blast and I'm sure we will have this adventure as long as the boys will indulge us.

Thomas the Train
At least I'm looking at the camera.

Thomas the Train
Look at us in an old train car.

Thomas the Train
Caught coming out of the gift shop (but they were good, just a couple of singing toothbrushes and Thomas bag clips).

Thomas the Train
Memaw gave Eli the perfect outfit for the trip.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Boys and Their Trucks

Fire Truck Watching

On Tuesdays we always stay close to the windows so we can see one of the three garbage trucks that come by, but this week we got a special prize. This is the scene I happen upon at our front door after brushing my teeth.

After the fire truck left, this is the determined child I was left with.

He went and got his shoes and sat down for me to put them on. He said, "We had to go see the fire truck go back to the garage. Drive the mommy bus (my van) to go see the fire truck."

When we got to the fire station, the truck had not returned. But is was all okay, when we saw a "brown truck" (UPS) and started thinking about the packages it was bringing. :)